One of the first things a recently formed Langley environmental group did was issued invitations to local candidates running in October’s federal election.
The Climate Crisis Langley Action Partners members have planned an all-candidate forum for Sept. 25. Five of nine declared candidates in Langley’s two main ridings have agreed to take part in a forum which will have an environmental focus.
Sheryl Mountenay founded the group which started meeting June 9.
“I looked for a local group that I could join, wanting to become better informed on the climate crisis and to join forces to look for solutions,” she said.
She was prompted to act after the death of her sister-in-law who was an activict in Missouri.
“Perhaps like many others, climate change was something that would pop-up and then fall off my radar screen. I was a very good ‘armchair’ activist, signing petitions that came my way and donating to organizations that addressed protecting the environment and its inhabitants.”
She decided more had to be done and started looking for like-minded people.
“My search led me to attend the Adapting to Climate Change event at the Township of Langley. After the presentation I approached Krista Robinson and asked her if there was a local climate change group. She didn’t think so but suggested I contact LEPS.”
Mountenay met with Lisa Dreves with LEPS which offered support and meeting space as well as sending word out through its email distribution list.
“We had nine people show up at our first meeting. We now have 34 people who have expressed various levels of interest and commitment,” she said.
Group member Larri Woodrow joined the group with an eye to the future.
“At 80, I’m finishing up a full and wonderful life,” said Woodrow. “My mission on CCLAP is to welcome and encourage our youth to engage in politics to help affect change.”
He said the climate crisis is the most important social issue of the day.
“The most important thing we can do is engage the youth,” Woodrow said.
He said young people can become involved in October’s federal election.
“In this coming election, youth hold sufficient potential power to influence policy, if they engage and vote,” Woodrow added.
CCLAP’s mandate is to do what it can locally and lobby those with the authority to do something about climate change.
“How could we organize to ensure that politicians elected at municipal, provincial and federal levels of government are equally concerned about the risks climate change presents? How can we ensure that the policies and actions of those elected officials reflect and continue to address our concerns. How do we mobilize and energize others to lend their voices and support to take action on addressing climate change? Mountenay explained.
The next meeting is at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 27 at the LEPS office, 4839 221st St. People interested in the group can find out more on its Facebook page. The group will also have a booth at the Langley Eats Local finale during the Langley Community Farmers Market on Wednesday, Aug. 14.
CCLAP is also encouraging local participation in initiatives such as Langley Eats Local and international efforts such as the youth-led Global Climate Strike taking place Sept. 20 to 27.
“Looking at the climate crisis we are in, I know it is easy to feel overwhelmed, powerless and skeptical about what can be done, particularly when there is such a short time frame,” Mountenay commented. “There are no easy solutions. The weather we have been experiencing over the past few years is the new norm. It will not get any better. I would simply encourage those who are concerned to lend their voice. Become informed; become involved. Let your town council members, MLAs, MPs know you are concerned and demand something be done. I do believe this is a call to action moment. Everyone has something to offer. We can’t afford to be silent.”